Lloyd Kahn Talks About Shelter, the Concept of Home

Lloyd Kahn, the do-it-yourself pioneer and former champion of the geodesic dome, is the focus of a new documentary titled Shelter. Directed by Jason Sussberg, and shot in 16mm film, Kahn discusses how home is more than a shelter, that it provides an intangible sense of safety and warmth that you feel the moment you walk in the door. It’s a quality he believes is lacking in today’s mass-produced housing. But as founding editor of Shelter Publications, and a former editor at Whole Earth Catalog, Kahn has spent a lifetime immersed in the culture of self-built, sustainable housing. Here’s some context on his work:

Each project became more ambitious. His first project was a sod-roof studio in Mill Valley, with succulents planted on the roof. The second was a used-wood, timber-frame Japanese/Bernard Maybeck-influenced design: a post-and-beam frame, with several 10-foot (3.0 m)-high poured concrete walls. Before these two jobs, he’d had little building experience, but quickly learned on the job. This is where he discovered the owner/builder perspective in learning to build. He tried to maintain this outlook throughout his publishing career, so he could explain building techniques to novice builders. He next got a job in Big Sur as foreman building a large post and beam house out of bridge timbers from a dismantled bridge; the main structural members were 30? long, 8? X 22? redwood beams. He then built his own home out of used lumber and hand-split shakes in Big Sur, developed a water supply, and terraced a hillside for small-scale farming. (via Wikipedia)

“You can still use your hands to build a home. There’s no way that machines canreally build homes, other than sterile ones,” Kahn says in the film. “So, you know, here we are all these years later, in this electronic era, but you still got these 10 digits and a hammer and a saw.” TC mark

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  • Annika

    So cool! He's amazing.

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